Biz Briefs: Liberty Media Wants Voice in TW Strategy

Feb 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

John Malone’s Liberty Media said last Wednesday that it wants a role in influencing strategy at Time Warner and has asked for federal approval to “participate actively” in important shareholder votes and actions. Liberty owns a 4 percent stake in the media giant and is prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission from converting its stake into voting shares until February 2007. However, the company has asked the FTC for the right to convert the nonvoting stake into voting shares on an accelerated basis and is arguing that because Liberty no longer has an interest in any United States-based cable systems, the prohibition should be lifted. The FTC imposed the order on Liberty in February 1997, when Liberty was a subsidiary of then-cable company Tele-Communications Inc., at the time the country’s largest cable operator. Many of TCI’s assets have since been bought and sold, with many now making up cable systems owned by Comcast. Liberty’s move comes less than a week after Time Warner’s management and billionaire financier Carl Icahn reached a truce ending a protracted proxy fight for control of the media giant.

Q4 Profit Decline for Hearst-Argyle Television

Hearst-Argyle Television last Thursday reported a 75 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit as a drop in political advertising and a charge related to the company’s New Orleans television station depressed results. The company reported a profit of $9.9 million, compared with a year-earlier figure of $39.6 million. The numbers reflected the absence of $35.6 million in political advertising revenue in the quarter and a $29.2 million charge related to reducing the value of intangible assets in New Orleans, where the company’s television station WDSU-TV was hit physically and revenue-wise by Hurricane Katrina. Revenue fell to $192 million from $221 million a year ago. For the year, Hearst-Argyle’s profit fell to $100.2 million from $123.9 million a year ago. Revenue slipped to $706.9 million from last year’s $779.9 million.